What is a Folio?

I began to consider producing folios of my work in 2013. After exploring the wonderful folios that are produced by Brooks Jensen of Lenswork Publishing. They struck my as not only elegant but, a very intimate way to share what is a “finished project”. It is one thing to create images, to take photographs but, then what does one do with the hundreds, thousands, indeed tens of thousands of images created over years even a lifetime?

It only makes sense that they fulfill a purpose a mission so to speak. I have found I am drawn by many things in the natural world even the man made world at times. I gravitate to these things when the desire to create comes in to play. This has led to years of photographs of very similar subjects. I have been offering these photographs as single individual prints. This is still the case because I just love seeing my work in print. There seems also to be “bodies” of work that go together and belong together. You find these bodies of work in photography books.  Of course you can purchase multiple prints of similar subjects and display them together as well but, they still seem like individuals without a common thread. Books do address this but have their own short comings. Folios seem to fill the cracks between individual prints and books.

As described by Brooks Jensen editor of Lenswork, whom from my knowledge came up with this project completion concept and the folio in this format: “A folio is a grouping of unbound prints much more like a book than a random collection of prints.”

  • A folio may typically contain, roughly speaking, 5-10 original prints.
  • A folio has a text component, like a book. This text component may contain items such as a title page, introduction, statement, artist thoughts or ideas pertaining to the subject, and colophon.
  • A folio has a folded container with a tucked flap on back which is opened and closed easily holding prints and text pages. Artistic and simple in nature.
  • A folio is meant to be held and examined closely like a book but contains original fine art produced by the artists like a portfolio.

So you see the folio is an offspring of the book and portfolio.

You may wonder why not just a book or just a portfolio? Each of these have their own pros & cons. The folios attempts to address the cons while maintaining the pros.

Pros of the book

  • Easily handheld.
  • Contains a common theme or themes.
  • Contains text to provide the artists insight of the imagery.

Cons of the book

  • Not original artwork. This is by far the most serious problem with books. The images printed in them are at the mercy of less than ideal printing equipment during the production stage. Namely offset printers which are not capable of reproducing a high quality photograph to original quality standards.
  • Need to be produced in large quantities and are not easily changed or improved upon.
  • Not produced with archival materials.

Pros of the portfolio

  • Are original artwork as produced by the artist.
  • Easily customized .
  • Produced as needed.

Cons of the portfolio

  • Presented in bulky cases (historically).
  • No text component.
  • Less than a personal experience for the average viewer.

These are but a few of the pros and cons of books and portfolios but hopefully you get the picture. Each one of the cons mentioned have been addressed with the introduction of the folio.

Images contained in a folio may be treated as any piece of fine art photography because they are just that. Images may be matted, framed and displayed but are not at all required to be. I find the greatest pleasure in keeping folios intact and available for viewing and experiencing as a complete body of work whenever desired.

  • Folio covers are produced from heavy acid free art paper.
  • Prints are produced on archival papers.

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